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We got power!

  • Solar Power
Finally after months of analyzing, selecting, calculating, ordering, installing, missing parts, replacing parts, genset not starting, miscommunication with supplier, etc etc, we have the Solar energy up-and-running. No more sitting by poor light, not using heavy tools etc. You only realize after having no electricity what you miss in and around your small holding.

In the summer of 2017 I was preparing for my immigration to Portugal and going to live ‘off-the-grid’. I also needed power. My choice was obviously solar power as my assumption was I am going to a sunny place in Southern Europe. Correct, well almost. We also have a lot of rain. Before knowing what I had to order, I first investigated my usage in my small Amsterdam apartment, and then reduced the usage by deleting of no longer using certain devices and or machines in my new environment. My usage was about 7 kWh per week. I brought it back to around 4 kWh p/w. Turns out that my current solar setup produces around 12 kWh per week(!).

It is a complex materie, electrics. Fortunately I have a large DIY book* and one of my new friends here in Portugal turned out te be a retired electrician for large companies.

That was very helpful, as I had to design my own home switchboard or AC panel (this is one important area your ‘DC man’ does not do for you…). And we needed it all to be earth leakage proof. So there went a 150cm copper rod into the ground on a moist spot in the shade. Furthermore had to design a platform to hold the 4 PV panels in a safe and south/west facing way.

My Solar system consists of:
- 4x 275 watt Solar PV panels (1100 watts);
- Victron MultiPlus 24 | 3000 | 70-16 | 230/240V Inverter
- MPPT solar charger (good for shady and bad weather conditions)
- 12x battery bank: 24 volt
- backup generator Kohler, 4 kWh (automatic)

I am very satisfied with the hole setup and also a benefit that I am my own ‘electrician’ and thus can tackle problems myself.

*This is the ‘disclaimer’: You should take all safety precasions when working with electra and if you are not confident in what you are doing is to let an professional do the job.